Eyes set on vet school

Turner Anderson

By Whitney Baxter

Turner Anderson knew from an early age that the only way he could attend college was if he received a full-ride scholarship. With dreams of one day becoming a veterinarian, Anderson buckled down, worked hard and recently made it one step closer to his dream.

Anderson, who will graduate summa cum laude from Iowa State University this semester as a triple major in animal science, animal ecology and biology, was accepted into the ISU-UNL Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine. He’ll spend the first two years of his veterinary medicine education at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, then transfer to Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine for his final two years of study.

A native of Papillion, Nebraska, Anderson received the George Washington Carver Scholarship, which has covered tuition for all four years he’s been at Iowa State. Scholarships from his three majors have also helped fund his schooling.

“I knew early on that I had to get a full-ride scholarship, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to attend college,” Anderson said. “Many of the things I possess today are due to my hard work and determination.”

To help make the transition to Iowa State smoother, he enrolled in the Academic Program for Excellence the summer before his freshman year. APEX is an eight-week program during which multicultural students take two or three courses, connect with fellow students and learn about various resources available to them on campus.

“Being around those people was an incredible experience,” Anderson said. “All of my relationships started with APEX, and thanks to the program, I was better prepared for the fall semester.”

Anderson first enrolled as an animal science student, then added animal ecology as a second major to gain more wildlife experience. Having met the credit number and course requirements for his two majors, Anderson could have graduated early. However, he didn’t want to attend vet school as a 20-year-old, so he turned his biology minor into a third major.

Highlights of Anderson’s time on campus have included serving as a resident assistant, Destination Iowa State leader, George Washington Carver program peer mentor, animal science teaching assistant and lab assistant in the microbiology lab. He was also a CALS Student Dean’s Advisory Committee member and a secondary handler for service dogs.

“I kept thinking, ‘what will make me a better vet?’” Anderson said of his decision to become involved in various organizations on campus.

Jasmine Tappin, senior retention coordinator for the George Washington Carver Scholarship Program and Academy, said she has seen Anderson grow and thrive as a leader and scholar both within the GWC program and the campus community.

“From being a first-year student in the UST 105: Carver Academy Seminar: Freshman course to becoming a GWC peer mentor and now a graduating senior with his sights set on graduate school, witnessing Turner's growth has been a true pleasure,” Tappin said.

Of the many classes Anderson has taken, AN S 331: Domestic Animal Reproduction and BIOL 353: Introductory Parasitology are among his favorites. He appreciated how the biology course was taught by veterinary professors and was a great introduction to what he will be studying in vet school.

Jodi Sterle, professor of animal science, taught Anderson’s domestic animal reproduction class. She also was the one who gave Anderson a tour of campus when he first visited Iowa State.

“She made learning fun for me. She did a great job of balancing being stern and helping us learn,” Anderson said.

Like others who helped him gain a sense of belonging at Iowa State, Anderson has found joy in providing that feeling to others through helping underclassmen transition to apartment life or guiding freshmen students as a Destination Iowa State leader.

“Everybody has a place here at Iowa State,” Anderson said. “Find people who make you feel safe and are of diverse backgrounds. Try to find a commonality with those people.”